Landscaping Improves Home Values!

By Chris Taylor

An excerpt from the Smart Money Magazine

YOU’VE DONE EVERYTHING humanly possible to boost the value of your home: put a trendy island in the kitchen, laid fresh carpeting to re-place that dusty ’70s shag, constructed a spa-quality bathroom bigger than most studio apartments. And now you’re scratching your head, wondering how to jack up your resale price even more.

When well-heeled buyers pull up to your home, it’s not the luxury faucets or the gorgeous granite counter they see first. It’s the landscaping. If your lawn is patchy, and your trees are on their deathbed, it isn’t going to matter what kind of magic you’ve worked indoors. “When people ask me how they can get strong interest in their property, I always tell them to fix up their landscaping,” says Walt McDonald, president-elect of the National Association of Realtors. “If a homeowner is reluctant to do it, I tell them they won’t get top dollar.” You will not only attract more buyers and get a quicker sale but also probably get a welcome boost in your sale price. “If you spend 5% of the value of your home on landscaping, and do it wisely, you might get 150% or more of your money back,” says Massachusetts Realtor Gill Woods

Gardening is one of the most popular hobbies in America: In 2001 homeowners spent $37.7 billion taking care of their yards, up from $22.5 billion five years earlier, according to the National Gardening Association. While the increase has been fueled by a maturing boomer population and a spike in home buying, people are also clueing in to the fact that it can add dollars to their home’s value. A study by Clemson University and the University of Michigan found that consumers value a landscaped home up to 11.3% higher than its base price. And one Quebec survey found that hedges raised property values by 3.6%, a landscaped curb by 4.4% and a landscaped patio by a staggering 12.4%.

To put it into perspective: For a $500,000 home, on which you spend $25,000 to spruce it up, even a modest gain of 7.5% would put $12,500 of straight profit in your pocket. Though the result, a perfect yard, may look beautifully simple, a thou-sand factors contribute to it, from dealing with contractors and knowing what to plant to hiring landscape architects and designers, and making sure your costs don’t spiral out of control.

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